Brace yourself for some meme-worthy Egyptian cats and gif-able Renaissance babies, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) recently announced unrestricted digital access for nearly half its collection of artworks.
Making good on its mission to “create transformative experiences through art, for the benefit of all the people forever,” CMA has opened its digital archives to the public through a partnership with Creative Commons Zero (CC0), a global nonprofit dedicated to the free distribution of otherwise copyrighted images.
30,000 artwork images — nearly half of the museum’s entire collection — are now available for digital users to remix, research, merchandise, print, and explore. Better yet, released metadata for more than 61,000 works will allow scholars to more easily investigate conduct research into provenance and object histories. You can search the Cleveland institution’s collection here.
“If we are committed to transparency, to fostering creativity, to engaging communities within and far beyond our region,” wrote the CMA’s director and president William Griswold in a Medium post announcing the initiative, “then there is almost nothing we can do that would have greater impact.”
The museum has also changed its policies to encourage visitors to capture their own still and moving images of their public-domain artworks during their visits.
Previously, Hyperallergic has reported on a growing number of museums and archives that have opened their collections to public access. The list includes the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Newberry Library, the Walters Art Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
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